Monday, October 19, 2020

They're Here Again

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Friday, September 4, 2015

singularity as a crock

in 1986 I copied an eliza program into my micro computer. I was young. Following this I spent a lot of time wondering what it would take to make my little eliza conscious.

more memory, sure. 64k not enough. Maybe 512k, fat mac territory. And more concepts relating to concepts. And some way to simulate emotions. Those bad chemicals.

but I always got stuck on the emptiness of the algorithms. The computer doesn't care, it shuts up and calculates. It ascribes no meaning to anything, no matter the digital scores entered in to the programming, giving Mom a value of ten and a cockroach a one. I could flip Mom and the cockroach and the computer wouldn't care.

I was stuck. It was John Searle's Chinese Room but I had no idea.

meanwhile, across an ocean, mathematician and natural philosopher Roger Penrose was at the same time applying himself to this issue. 

Penrose said that digital computers can never be conscious.


so what are we to do with Ray Kurzweil's vision of heaven, or Daniel Dennett's where am I?

retort, consciousness is a foundation of the universe, just like any other non-reducible variable. Spin, charge, mass.

Hofstadter may be content with recursion as a piece of the answer, but all he is doing is forcing humans to do something they can't do, which is compute something pointlessly and recursively.   Parlor trickery, inducing confusion to win an argument.  Which computers specialize in, but they still don't know my mother from a cockroach.  

if consciousness is a fundamental aspect of reality, higher consciousness is a hothouse flower of some concern. This is in opposition to the standard materialist, technocratic myth of the day, which is that Japanese robots will graduate from looking creepy and jerking off Japanese scientists to suddenly reflecting on their lot in life and taking over the world.

indeed, if materialists are correct, our stunted epoch might be but a collective intake of breath before we glitch into reflexive awareness that we are a science project running as an app for some snot-nosed kid.

consciousness achieved at 5pm. Turned off their reproductive systems at 6pm, at which time the simulation terminated after the last simulacrum died a natural death.

that's the ticket.

or, it is turtles all the way down.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

to skin a cat

Richard Posner: Privacy is "Mainly" About Concealing Guilty Behavior
[...] “Much of what passes for the name of privacy is really just trying to conceal the disreputable parts of your conduct,” Posner added. “Privacy is mainly about trying to improve your social and business opportunities by concealing the sorts of bad activities that would cause other people not to want to deal with you.”

King George agreed with Posner.  One hopes Posner is not now similarly suffering from Porphyria. In response, belatedly, the Fourth amendment to the United States constitution.  After George III, before Posner:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Clearly, B. Franklin  was trying to hide his dalliances with the ladies, and the French.  G. Washington certainly was growing more than tobacky up in Mount Vernon, T. Jefferson had personal problem and lord only knows what else needed concealing from the Redcoats - and the neighbors!

Posner excreted this opinion in reference to electronic privacy in the United States. 

If the government of ANY country or nation subscribes to all of the information sources provided by private companies IN that country or nation, the people therein would be a open book.   Everything.   There is no hiding.   There is no privacy.  

Posner says, "It's great!" and strokes his cat.  He takes a cat selfie.  For posterity.   It's how he'll be remembered.  He has nothing to conceal - AND NOTHING TO SAY.  This is how you become a statesman in the USA in this century.

Computers can uniquely identify all of us (at a scale of 1 in 20 billion) through a myriad of ways - our car, our mobile, our shamble, our typing patterns, our word usage, and so on.  It is technically possible to store all of this information about everyone, forever.

If a given government is permitted to utilize this information in aggregate, there will be no personal freedom, much less privacy, for anyone, forever. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

thinking machines and their pitfalls

Declaring an End to the Decade of Fear
Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post did D.C. residents a big favor earlier this week when he courageously acknowledged the service Edward Snowden did for the United States ... and for the global debate on rights and privacy in the big data era. I have myself been too slow to recognize that the benefits we have derived from Snowden's revelations substantially outweigh the costs associated with the breach. It is time we move from the kind of Patriot Act thinking that overstates security threats to such a degree that we subordinate our basic freedoms to something more consistent with our historical systems of checks and balances. 

Edward Snowden.  One thousand opinions, one thousand crazy nights.  My opinion?  Snowden is a MacGuffin.  He serves to move the plot along.  He is not the plot, and the extent to which my government is interested in his person is embarrassing and juvenile.  It's like watching a blasé kid look for a butterfly to entomb in a jar.

In my own personal narrative, I have little interest in politics, it being obvious in the abstract that corporate interests currently instruct both parties rather stagnantly in the United States. The military industrial complex is indivisible from corporate interests, or the nation from which it stands on.

Yet as someone who supports a strong national defense - for any sovereign nation, but first my own, I quickly run into difficulties.  I wish for the NSA to have the strongest and best signal intelligence on the globe. It is a goal of those running the NSA to achieve this.  I think this clip sums it up.  Perhaps there are some built in contradictions here and there.

Two things.  One, certainly those running the NSA auger to have the best capabilities for signals intelligence around, which is sensible in a world that includes China and Russia and so on.  That is the job.

Countervailing all this is the fear that in 2020 some random pimp running an arbitrary program will ask for the metaphoric 1980's "database readout" of all the shits taken (sent to the mothership by sophisticated internet toilets manufactured by Sony) from racial subgroup X in San Francisco who went to political convention Y on January 9th, 2017.  Those showing an excess of Slurm in their diet will have their citizenship revoked and the orbital lasers will warm up and then KERZAAAAPP!  And a twinkling of ash and gristle shall scatter thusly onto the ground.

Sure, it is funny.  Until it happens to you.  Just like that. This could lead to most people conducting their normal business at renaissance faires with their mobiles turned off.

But ye gods, what a tragedy.  Dodging wenches and the like, drenched in warm beer and fake frocks.

There's got to be a better way.  Maybe we should all give up computers?  And by that, I mean, completely.


   "The target [...] was a machine-attitude as much as the machines," Leto said. "Humans had set those machines to usurp our sense of beauty, our necessary selfdom out of which we make living judgments. Naturally, the machines were destroyed."[4] 

Monday, May 6, 2013

drink the fluid

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

felony seeds

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

black rain

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